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What Vanlife in a Pandemic is teaching me - Week #4

What you focus on expands, and YOU get to choose where you aim your attention.

I've been thinking quite a bit this week about how having a "Noisy Brain" affects us and our abilities to function optimally. There is only so much bandwidth our brain can handle. When it's near full capacity it's bound to malfunction and start working against us. In today's over-stimulated society it's important to actively work to calm our brain to stop our thoughts from running wild. If we get in the habit of telling ourselves all sorts of stories about what 'should' be happening or what 'could' happen, it can be tough to stop that momentum and focus inward. I find it usually takes me 2 full weeks of being away from my busy life before I'm able to live mindfully and start to realize how I'm feeling. I need to meditate multiple times in a week before I start to notice the benefits and can clear my thoughts. That's where my happiness lies, in the leftover bandwidth I clear out.

We don't have control over much in this world, but the one thing that is always in our full control is where we choose to spend our bandwidth. Are you spending it wisely? Or is much of it being wasted worrying about what others are doing or being fearful of many things that may never happen? What happens when you bring more calm into your day without constantly being distracted? Have you ever really tried it?

Over the past 2 years, I've worked hard to eliminate certain things from taking away my bandwidth. Mindless Netflix nights are needed here and there, but I've taken it out of my weekly routine. Gossiping about others, worrying about who I'm offending, living up to other's expectations, and feeling guilty about who I am are all things I've been carrying around my whole life that I would like to release. If your happiness is at all wrapped up in what others think of you, you will never feel free. It is not your job to be who anyone expects you to be, nor is it anyone else's job to be who you expect them to be.

Vanlife has taken away many of my daily distractions, and this is helping me be more present throughout my day. For this, I am extremely grateful. It's amazing what the brain is capable of when you simplify your life. We've been sleeping 9 hours a night, getting lots of sun, and we've been hydrating with lots of peppermint and chamomile tea. I've also only drank alcohol one day since we've been here, I plan on keeping up that habit of only once every few weeks.

It's going to sound silly but last night when we were playing video games before bed I felt extremely sharp. My mind is expanding and working more smoothly with how much rest and exercise I've been giving it. I was crushing it at games I normally struggle at, and it felt good. My cell phone hasn't worked since March 25th, and I believe this is also helping me clear distractions. It also feels good not to feel the need to "get a work out in". We ride our bikes into town if we need food and getting in and out of this van all day is a workout in itself. I even have to walk up and down a small hill to go to the bathroom. Being healthy and active when you're not sitting in a house comes pretty naturally without much effort. It's been nice.

2 years ago Andrew bought us front row tickets for Jordan Peterson. One of the first things he said blew my mind, "you're dropped naked in a jungle with nothing ... THAT'S WHO YOU ARE". This stuck with me and I think of it often.

Take away all of your comforts, securities, money, what's familiar to you, and that's who you are. Such an interesting concept. What skills would you have? Would you cower and panic? Or immediately think of how to build a shelter and protect yourself? Would you develop more skills and look at it as a challenge? Or decide before you even tried anything that you couldn't survive? Who are you when no one else is around to see it?

I believe we are capable of much more than we give ourselves credit for. There is growth in being uncomfortable. Struggle teaches us what love cannot. I do not look at things as being good or bad. Challenging yes, but not bad. We often overestimate how bad something will be once it happens. We also overestimate how much happiness certain things will bring us. Our imagination isn't always working in our favor, but it can be if we train it. Don't underestimate your ability to handle whatever comes your way. It will only give your fear more power to take over your mind.

Brain health isn't talked about enough in our society, when you treat it right and clear some space there's more room for new and exciting things to come in.

Ok enough with the deep stuff, I hadn't planned on getting all serious on you guys, but that's just where my mind went this morning.

Here are a couple of videos about our week. Andrew has been working hard fixing it up to tip-top shape. The van isn't quite finished yet but I can't wait to show you all once it is :)

I've been slowly working on our YouTube channel. I'm aiming at 100 subscribers so I can get a shortcut link and I have 40 people to go so if you could take the time to click the subscribe button on our channel I'd appreciate it. It's free and over the next few months, I'll build the channel into something fun worth following :)

Happy Sunday everyone and thanks so much for your support and for following.

Our videos will get better next week once I have a tripod and Andrew to help me make them once he's done fixing the van (if he will ever be done).

Here's our week in a nutshell,

if you follow us on social media you will have already seen half of it

Here's 10 minutes of Andrew's ridiculousness when it comes to working on the van. I just threw it all together for all you tech people out there who like this stuff. I'm not sure if he will ever stop making our "home" better. He loves tinkering and making everything optimal.


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